As teachers, we take on unimaginable responsibilities. They range from greeting our students to protecting them in safety aspects. We must also keep up with changes in classroom policies, curriculum, and Ministry of Education expectations. To manage that, we need to collaborate, learn, participate, listen, and have time for effective PD.
When I think about my professional growth, I recall participating in NCTM, ASCD, NCEA, and many other conferences. Excellent experience, the best opportunities to connect, and get ideas of new strategies and trends. That Spark helped me reflect on my actual practices, but I had to be my own advocate, take risks and make small bite-size changes with and for my students. A group of co-workers interested in change, spearheading the improvement of teachers for our benefit and our students, would have been the opportunity for growth.
How can we do that? The answer is simple and powerful, a Professional Learning Community (PLC). With this in mind, Miryam Morrón, our School Transformation Director for Latin America, launched GEN - Red de Educadores Generativos. And what is GEN? You may ask. GEN is a group of educators trying to make a significant difference in education. We have zoom sessions/conversations, podcasts, a Facebook group, and most importantly, we have us. It is refreshing to share ideas, experiences, and, why not, aspirations for what can be and what we could do.
During these sessions/conversations, exciting events occur. We can see how our participants and we can go into a Spark moment. Those Spark moments can turn into comments like, “I didn't know that,” “that was not how I understood it,” or even… “so I have been doing this incorrectly.” Those are the moments we begin the process of becoming generative teachers.
Suppose we understand and question our narratives, biases, and perspectives and become aware of our need to change. In that case, we are in need of improvement, and we flourish. We take action and embark on a learning process and educational investigation, taking us to a new state of deeper inquiry about what we do, how we do it, and what we can do better or more. We explore our zone of proximal development and decide to take that step, risk, that call to action needed for change. Once this call to action is taken, there is no going back to our old ways of doing things. Now we know what we can do, create, and achieve for ourselves and our students. This new way of being, acting, and teaching makes us better pedagogical problem solvers. More effective teachers share a common voice with other teachers in which an environment of self and shared reflection is cultivated, and learning is an ongoing activity. In a word, we become GENERATIVE teachers.
I invite you to share your experiences and your stories with us. Let us become a voice of innovation. Let´s be the new breed of teachers needed to change our system. We meet every other Tuesday at 5:00 pm Colombia time. You can find us on Facebook GEN - Red de Educadores Generativos. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @maribelvazcam.